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Friday Financial Five – March 21st, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

 

CBO advocates near term entitlement change

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) exists in an attempt to provide non-partisan guidance to Congress to help direct budget policy. This week, Director Doug Elmendorf (http://www.c-span.org/video/?318350-2/2014-economy-summit-douglas-elmendorf) spoke of the threat presented by inaction on Social Security and healthcare programs. As we approach the year 2020, the CBO estimates entitlement spending will increase dramatically, while the rest of expenses will slightly decrease as a percentage of GDP. The choices to fix Social Security aren’t all that popular: change who can receive it and when or increase tax revenue to pay for the program as currently constituted. Elmendorf suggests that adjusting the framework now will allow individuals to plan ahead and should be a top priority.

Contribution deadlines approaching

For Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs, the date for establishing and funding them is April 15th of this year for tax year 2013. This deadline holds fast even if filing an extension. While SIMPLE IRAs need to be established by October 1st of the applicable tax year, SEP-IRAs can be established and funded by the employer’s tax filing date, including extensions.

Millionaires continue to increase

Economists continue to debate the effect income inequality has on the economy. For those concerned about the wealthier end of that equation, take comfort that the number of millionaires has increased considerably since 2009. The Spectrem Group, which has been conducting this survey for the last decade, estimates that the total number of millionaires in the U.S. is now up to 9.6 million. The mass affluent, or those with over $25 million, has also increased significantly since 2008 from 84,000 to 132,000.

Keeping an eye out for bubbles

Bonds issued by companies, or corporate debt, now has the investment world’s attention. The total amount of corporate debt has reached almost $10 trillion and is more than the mortgage backed debt of 2007, which preceded a financial crisis. This century has experience with inflated asset prices, and some investors argue against a buy-and-hold investment philosophy using bubbles as part of the logic. However, they would have to concede that recent market advances have taken place with plenty of former investors in cash due to fear created by the events of 2008. Unfortunately, there’s no hard fast rule to determine the optimal time to get back into the market once you sell out.

More advisors under scrutiny

Adding another black eye to the financial industry, the SEC recently charged a group of brokers with using terminally ill hospice patients as pawns. This scheme involved the sale of $80 million worth of variable annuities. The charges contend the brokers used fraud to obtain the dying patients’ info and use them as annuitants. The brokers then marketed these annuities to wealthy clients, generating a hefty commission in the process.

Dan Forbes is a regular contributor on financial issues. He is a CFP Board Ambassador. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in Providence, RI and can be reached at dforbes@forbesplanning.com .

 

Related Slideshow: Great Moments in Alex and Ani History

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On the Silver Screen

April 2011

Alex and Ani Hit Silver Screen

Local jewelry makers and retailers Alex and Ani has partnered with ScreenVision Direct, the worldwide leader in cinema advertising, on a project that includes playing a movie trailer advertisement in Rhode Island theaters. It represents a new type of advertising environment for Alex and Ani. Read More

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Best Places To Work

May 2011

Alex and Ani Named One of Best Places to Work

The Alex and Ani jewelry company has been named on of “The Best Places to Work in Rhode Island" - recognition of the growth of the company and the culture. Read More

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Fastest Growing Companies

August 2011

Alex and Ani Named One of America's Fastest Growing Companies

Leading business publication Inc. Magazine has ranked Designer Carolyn Rafaelian’s Alex and Ani, Inc. number 470 on its annual Inc. 500 list, jumping nearly 800 spots since last year’s ranking of 1,247 on the Inc. 5000. This exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies recognizes Alex and Ani as the only Rhode Island based company to make the 500 list – a prestigious acknowledgment among the nation’s primary independent-minded entrepreneurs. Read More

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$1M Donation to Bryant

January 2011

Alex and Ani Donates 1 Million to Bryant University

Alex and Ani, Inc. - named one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies for 2011, has donated $1 million to Bryant University. The gift -- $100,000 a year for 10 years – will support the University’s nationally recognized International Business (IB) program.  Read More

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Biz Person of the Year

March 2012

Alex and Ani's Rafaelian RI Small Businessperson of the Year

Celebrating a substantial history as an established business, growth in the number of employees, innovativeness of products and contributions to the community, the U.S. Small Business Administration has announced Alex and Ani, Inc. Owner, Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Rhode Island’s Small Business Person of the Year. The announcement means she will compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year. Read More

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$1M Donation to RIC

September 2012

Alex and Ani Donates $1M to Rhode Island College

Alex and Ani, LLC has donated $1 million — $100,000 a year over 10 years — to Rhode Island College. In recognition of the donation to the college, the new $17 million Art Center currently under construction building will be named Alex and Ani Hall. Read More

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Belcourt Castle

November 2012

Alex and Ani Founder Buys Belcourt Castle

Belcourt Castle has been sold to jewelry designer Carolyn Rafaelian for more than $3 million. The sale by the Tinney Family to the founder of Alex and Ani is the most recent in a series of acqusitions and expansions tied to the Rhode Island-based jewelry company. Read More

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Difference Maker

December 2012

Carolyn Rafaelian: 12 Who Made a Difference in RI in 2012

You can go big or go home. Or, if you're Carolyn Rafaelian, you can go big, stay home, and do worlds of good with the great success you're generating as a business. Read More

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Buying a Vineyard

December 2012

$8.95 Million Sale of Sakonnet Vineyards To Alex and Ani Final

Lila Delman has announced the sale of Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, listed at $8,950,000, to Alex and Ani, the Cranston-based jewelry company. According to RI’s statewide MLS service, this is the highest sale in Little Compton in the last two years. Melanie Delman, President of Lila Delman, Susana Gustavson and Robin Nicholson, Broker Associates with the company, represented the seller. Read More

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First Super Bowl Ad

February 2013

Alex and Ani Launches Super Bowl Ad

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The Boss

March 2013

Alex and Ani Designer Rafaelian Appears on “The Boss”  

Alex and Ani Designer and Founder Carolyn Rafaelian starred in NECN's "The Boss," on March 11, 2013 at 8pm EST.Giovanni Feroce, Alex and Ani CEO, appeared on NECN's 7am Morning Show with Steve Aveson and Bridget Blythe to promote the episode. Read More

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Job Creation

September 2013

Alex and Ani Fuels Economy - Creates Thousands of Jobs in RI

Rhode Island’s economy may be stuck in a low growth gear, but Alex and Ani is developing into one of the bright spots for the Rhode Island economy according to a report by Bryant University’s John H. Chafee Center for International Business and The Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies. The Bryant report found that in 2012, the company directly or indirectly generated nearly 1,100 fulltime jobs in Rhode Island. Read More

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Celtics Team Wine

November 2013

Celtics Name Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard Official Team Wine

The Boston Celtics have named Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard as the official team wine, in a partnership announced today between the 17-time World Champions and the domestic, international-award winning wine producer in Rhode Island. Read More

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Man of the Year

January 2014

Rhode Island’s Man of the Year: Giovanni Feroce

In 2013, no one man has done more to transform Rhode Island's self-confidence than Giovanni Feroce.

In just four short years, he helped to grow a small Rhode Island jewelry company from just $4 million in sales to over $200 million. No favorite son has spent more time and energy reinvesting in the Ocean State, between rebuilding a manufacturing base, to multiple million dollar donations to colleges in the state, to growing jobs. Read More

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New CEO

March 2014

Alex and Ani Appoints Carolyn Rafaelian Interim CEO

Alex and Ani has announced that founder Carolyn Rafaelian has been named Interim CEO of the Cranston-based life-style brand company.

The company, which has grown to be one of the largest employers and manufacturers in Rhode Island, has been on a rocket of good news. Presently featured in a national ad for Bank of America, the Alex and Ani has been featured as a model for innovation, branding, and Made in America manufacturing. Read More

 
 

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